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Web3, social impact and more: DC Startup Week is back IRL next month

The weeklong event is back this year with five days of in-person programming after its switch to virtual in 2020 and 2021.

A panel at AARP Innovation Labs during DC Startup Week 2019. (Photo via @DCstartupweek on Twitter) is a media partner for DC Startup Week.

If you’ve got a stack of paper business cards that sat untouched for two years, you’ve got an opportunity next month to dust them off (and, uh, double check that they’re up-to-date).

DC Startup Week, the annual event for the city’s founders and startup enthusiasts, is back Sept. 12 through 16. This year, the event is heading back to in-person — a pivot from the virtual programming of 2020 and 2021. The organizing team is planning workshops, panels, fireside chats and more IRL happenings all five days. Each day will also close with an in-person happy hour.

This year, attendees can choose from five tracks: early-stage founder, growth stage, service-based, social impact and a new Web3 track covering blockchain, crypto, NFTs and the future of the internet. Additional sessions will also be held virtually.

Lead Organizer Rachel Koretsky told that the organizers wanted to add a Web3 track after seeing how many founders were embracing this newer sect of technology.

“There’s so much developing around Web3 as well as what companies are doing moving from Web2 to Web3,” Koretsky said. “Starting to think about your business with what the future could look like, thinking about metaverse and cryptocurrencies, we felt like it was an important conversation to start having, as well as important to learn about the policy or the challenges some entrepreneurs are facing.”

After two years of virtual programming, Koretsky said the event organizers have learned a lot about engaging the virtual audience — and it’s a practice they hope to continue. While there will be five days of in-person events, there will also be virtual content for those unable to attend in-person.

All in all, the Startup Week team is expecting about 6,000 in-person attendees and a few thousand more virtual participants. This summer, they’ve been hosting in-person happy hour events, which Koretsky said has been a great opportunity to see in-person connecting flourish.

“DC Startup Week will bring thousands of people together, and [now we’re] getting back to those DC Startup Week stories of hearing the impact that we’re making each day for each individual founder,” Koretsky said. “So we’re very excited.”

As DC Startup Week continues to evolve (the event first began back in 2016), Koretsky said she hopes to continue growing it and engaging other parts of the city’s hustling ecosystem, like the creative community.

Koretsky added that the organizing team has begun engaging some of the city’s creatives with the Web3 track, as digital artists continue to navigate the NFT world. The program schedule hasn’t been released yet, but she noted that the creative community will be sharing their Web3 journey. Many founders will also be discussing their entrepreneurial stories at the event.

“Our goal is really making DC the place to start and scale your business,” Koretsky said. “A huge part of that is building the ecosystem of having investors who invest locally, having founders who’ve been inquired to share their mentorship, their resources, challenges and lessons learned with the local communities.”

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Projects: DC Startup Week

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